Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine dismissed a report that Johnny Manziel had moved ahead of Brian Hoyer in the Browns' quarterback competition, instead saying there was no clear-cut favorite, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
Bob Holtzman of ESPN reported Manziel had moved ahead of Hoyer, according to a team source. Pettine called the report untrue and said only he, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains know the status of the competition and none of the three has told anyone. Manziel made his preseason debut on Saturday and completed 7 of 11 passes for 63 yards while rushing for 27 yards.
Although Manziel may not be in the lead, according to Pettine, it does appear he's narrowed the gap. Hoyer opened camp as the leader and while Pettine said Hoyer hasn't done anything to lose that spot, he also said Manziel has shown "a lot of improvement." Hoyer and Manziel will continue to split first-team reps in practice leading up to the second preseason game. NFL Network reported Manziel would start Cleveland's second preseason game, but Pettine denied that report as well and said he hasn't named a starter.
Cleveland plays Washington on Aug. 18 and the game could go a long way in deciding the competition. Pettine said he would like to name a starter before the third preseason game, although he said the timeline wasn't "1,000 percent etched in stone."